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video still vs camera – Canon HD Vixia vs Nikon D3

November 4, 2009
What should you tell your clients?

I recently bought a prosumer video camera which also takes still images.   I was curious what the video camera would produce.   I compared the stills taken with the video camera with stills taken with my Nikon D3.  This is not a fair comparison, the canon product is for consumers while the Nikon is for professionals.   But – I figured I would have an answer for all my clients who tell me, “but my video camera also takes photos.”

The video camera had many settings for light balance, file size, shutter & aperture priority settings, focusing and even allows you to take an image in B/W.   The color balance is actually good,  you can set your own white balance.  The serious shortcoming is that the largest file size is 2304 X 1296 jpg, which translates to a 12.8 X 7.2  at 180dpi file.  That is limiting.

The camera is very simple,  basic and easy to use.   It tells you when the subject is in focus which for some people with poor eyesight is a plus.    The wide-angle to telephoto zoom is good to have, but  little hard to control.  The controller slides and has no presets.  You tend go just go back and forth between the largest and smallest settings never finding anything in the middle.

After doing a few tests I can see why people would like this feature it a video camera, but it is almost useless for a working professional.     The images look surprisingly good on the computer, but are too small for a print or a large web file.   The images begin to break up when enlarged.  The color shifts are significant and difficult to correct when you can only work with a jpg.   The shadows become darker and the highlights blow out.   This camera is easy to use and may work for a few party pics of your friends for Facebook, but not for a wedding or corporate job.

Examples below:

You can see with the image of the trail, it looks OK as a web file, but if you get any closer it begins to break up.

In the leaves images the color does not translate, even after some Photoshop.

The image with the sidewalk & leaves you can see that the grass loses all contrast and becomes a fantasy green.

The trail

The trail

Left Nikon D3, Right Canon

test 2
Nikon Left, Canon Right – Leaves


Nikon left, Canon right – sidewalk and grass

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